First impressions can be an important thing, especially when you are visiting somewhere for the first time. We were so excited to be going to Budapest as it seemed such a fab location and many of my friends had been there and fell in love with the country. We pulled into Budapest Keleti station and got off the train, this was when I decided I needed the toilet! Typical of me, so I went to the loo and paid a few euros to get in to see the toilet cubicles were like prison cells. The big metal doors that you get on a cell to keep the prisoners in at night. I found it slightly scary, did my pee and we left there, pretty quick
We went to our hotel room and that is a horror story in itself and you can read about it here, but basically it was not as advertised on the website and we ended up in another apartment, that was in a lovely area. It was so safe there that we found ourselves going to MacDonald’s at midnight to get Tilly some dinner (bad parent award, coming my way)
We slept so comfortably in our bed and woke up early the next day as we wanted to make the most of the full day we had there. We went to the Budapestinfo Point: 1052 Budapest, Sütő utca 2.and we collected some Budapest cards, these gave us free transportation in the Budapest area and access to 2 museums and the Budapest baths at Skt Lucaks. You can get more Tourist information if you pop over to http://www.budapestinfo.hu/en/.
We also booked on to a hop on hop off bus to make sure we saw all of the sights. We didn’t need to pay for Tilly and with a Budapest card we got a discount so it cost us 7000 HUF each. This also included a trip on the funicular to see the sights of Budapest from up high and also a boat right along the Danube. Budapest is the most beautiful city I think I have ever been to, and I have visited many places over the years. It is rich in history and is so similar in many places to Turkey, but then as I said earlier - Turkey had an influence over them for such a long time
We went on the open top bus, but as the temperature was 34 degrees’ it was too hot and we found ourselves sitting down stairs for most of the day. The hop on hop off bus was pretty easy to identify with its giant picture of a giraffe on it, but I do suggest you take your own ear phones as the ones they supply are the really old fashioned kind that you place over your head and you can hardly hear anything, plus they are the same pair used by dozens of sweaty tourists a day, not very hygenic. We really enjoyed the tour but on the second day we were really annoyed to have to wait about ¾ hour for a bus as they just didn’t keep turning up. I asked one of the guys if I had time to pop to get a cold drink and we were told no as the bus would be here soon, but it never did turn up. We ended up taking the metro line to Hero’s square to see the beautiful old buildings and the column. To get there you take the number 1 metro line and head towards Mexikoi ut. The stop you need is Hosok tere. Budapest is rich in history and the bus tour does take you around all of the parts of Budapest and you learn about the old Buda and Pest towns, and how they merged.
You learn more on a hop on hop off bus than you do just walking around on your own. The funicular takes you up to the old castle and also the art gallery, so again you can use your Budapest card to get in for free to the main gallery. I feel like they didn’t like Tilly in the art gallery because they followed us around – and they were not discreet about it, making it quite uncomfortable to be there. You cannot take any bags in to the gallery but there is a cloak room to leave your belongings for free.
The Budapest baths are really worth a visit, we went to the Skt Lucaks. Tilly wanted to go swimming and as it was so hot, I thought it would really cool her down. I did feel like Tilly possibly wasn’t welcome at the baths as she was a child, even though she was so well behaved and respectful to everyone else enjoying their time in the baths. With the Budapest card, you get an all day entry to the baths and you really could spend most of the day there, there are steam rooms and different baths as well as sun loungers, because some of the baths are out in the open and you really benefit from the sun shine. You get given a wristband when you enter and that gets you a locker too. If you want to get a separate cabin to get changed in, then I think you have to pay extra because our wristband didn’t work and you have to get changed in a communal area (you could always pop into the loo’s)
When it comes to food there is no better place to eat than Trofea Grill, it is an all you can eat buffet as well as all drinks included. Although it is really cheap to drink in Budapest anyway, this way makes it a real bargain. It worked out about £15 for food and drink and you can stay there all evening. There are over 100 dishes to choose from and they even have roast potatoes or mash on the menu. After wards they even helped us to get back to our hotel and directed us to the right tram. The travel system in Budapest was one of the easiest to use in our visit to Europe.
We did love Budapest and from the first impressions to when we left, our opinions had a full 360 degree turn around. I am dying to get back there and show my friend and Kimmy. I would recommend Budapest as a place to visit. The Budapest card was excellent value and you can get to choose whether you want one for 24,48 or 72 hours. You can order them online and have them ready to collect on arrival.
You can find the Budapest Tourist Information at http://budapestinfo.hu/en/ and it is so easy to get to Budapest by flying or taking the train from all major European cities.